Safe and Sound

Ameris Bank

Moultrie, GA
4
Star Rating
Moultrie, GA-based Ameris Bank is an FDIC-insured bank started in 1971. The bank has equity of $953.8 million on $7.83 billion in assets, according to December 31, 2017, regulatory filings.

U.S. bank customers have $6.63 billion on deposit at 109 offices in multiple states run by 1,460 full-time employees. With that footprint, the bank currently holds loans and leases worth $6.22 billion, including $4.24 billion worth of real estate loans.

Overall, Bankrate believes that, as of December 31, 2017, Ameris Bank exhibited a good condition, earning 4 out of 5 stars for safety and soundness. Keep reading for a look at how the bank fared on the three key criteria Bankrate used to grade American banks.

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THE INSTITUTION'S SCORE

Capital Score

Capital works as a buffer against losses and provides protection for account holders when a bank is experiencing financial trouble. Therefore, when it comes to measuring an an institution's financial strength, capital is important. From a safety and soundness perspective, more capital is preferred.

Ameris Bank received a score of 12 out of a possible 30 points on our test to measure the adequacy of a bank's capital, lower than the national average of 13.13.

One way to measure this buffer is looking at a bank's Tier 1 capital ratio. Ameris Bank's Tier 1 capital ratio was 12.64 percent, above the 6 percent level considered adequate by regulators, but lower than the national average of 25.65 percent. A higher capital ratio means the bank will be better able to stand up to financial headwinds.

Overall, Ameris Bank held equity amounting to 12.19 percent of its assets, which exceeded the national average of 12.03 percent.

Asset Quality Score

This test's purpose is to try to understand how the bank's capitalization and allocated loan loss reserves could be affected by problem assets, such as unpaid loans.

A bank with lots of these types of assets could eventually be required to use capital to cover losses, diminishing its buffer of equity. It also means that there are likely to be many assets that are in non-accrual status and no longer earning money, resulting in lower earnings and potentially more risk of a future failure.

Ameris Bank fell short of the national average of 37.49 on Bankrate's test of asset quality, racking up 36 out of a possible 40 points .

The percentage of problem assets a bank holds compared to its total assets is a helpful indicator of asset quality.As of December 31, 2017, 0.57 percent of Ameris Bank's loans were noncurrent, meaning they were more than 90 days past due or were in non-accrual status. That's below the national average of 1.01 percent.

Banks maintain a reserve known as an "allowance for loan and lease losses" to deal with troubled assets . Comparing the reserve's size to the total amount of at-risk loans can be a widely used indicator when evaluating a bank's ability to manage problem assets. Unfortunately, the FDIC did not provide information on Ameris Bank's loan loss allowance in its most recent filings.

Earnings score

A bank's earnings performance has an effect on its long-term survivability. A bank can retain its earnings, giving a boost to its capital cushion, or use them to address problematic loans, potentially making the bank more resilient in times of trouble. However, banks that are losing money have less ability to do those things.

On Bankrate's earnings test, Ameris Bank scored 18 out of a possible 30, exceeding the national average of 15.12.

Return on equity, calculated by dividing net income (profit, essentially) by total equity, is one widely used measure of a bank's earnings. The most recent annualized quarterly return on equity for Ameris Bank was 8.50 percent, above the national average of 8.10 percent.

The bank earned net income of $76.5 million on total equity of $953.8 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. The bank had an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.04 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.

WHAT IS SAFE & SOUND?

Bankrate.com's Safe & Sound Ratings provide a star rating system to evaluate the current financial status of financial institutions. The information gathered about banks, credit unions and thrifts is updated as set forth in the Terms of Use of Safe & Sound Ratings and Reports. The Safe & Sound Ratings information is grouped by categories of banks, thrifts and credit unions.

Scoring methodology

Bankrate.com evaluates the financial condition of institutions and assigns a one- to five-star rating for each with five stars representing the highest rating. Institutions with satisfactory performance will generally receive a rating of three or more stars. The majority of institutions fall into the three- to four-star range. An institution with an "NR" rating may be too new to rate or may have limited the publicly available information in their regulatory filings. The "NR" is not an indication of financial strength or weakness. The Safe & Sound rating is believed to be reliable, but the information is not guaranteed. In addition, events since the information was collected may have altered the institution's financial condition.